McLaren: Ferrari "clearly quicker" after F1 power unit upgrade

McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris has acknowledged Ferrari is now clearly ahead in the battle for third in the constructors' championship, as Ferrari's recent engine upgrade "tipped it in that direction".

McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris took a sensational 1-2 win in Monza, but in subsequent races Ferrari introduced an upgraded power unit for both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

After a closely fought battle throughout the 2021 season, the upgrade enabled Ferrari to leap ahead, which allowed Leclerc to qualify over six tenths clear of the first McLaren in Turkey.

In Austin's US Grand Prix both Ferraris also outqualified the McLarens, albeit with a much tighter margin, but in the race fourth-placed Leclerc managed to finish a full pitstop ahead of Ricciardo behind him. That allowed Ferrari to close the gap to the Woking outfit to a mere 3.5 points.

"I think Ferrari was quite obviously quicker than us," said Norris, who finished eight behind Sainz after a tough afternoon.

"Maybe it doesn't look it because Carlos was just stuck behind Daniel but if Carlos was ahead of Daniel, he would have pulled away the same as Charles did, so we've lacked pace all weekend comparing to the Ferraris."

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Norris acknowledged that the extra tenths that Ferrari got out of its power unite upgrade made a big difference and would make life difficult for McLaren in the remaining five races.

"It's definitely just tipped it in that direction for sure," he replied when asked if Ferrari's upgrade finally tipped the balance in the Scuderia's favour.

"They definitely have the edge at the moment. Not quicker in every place but just a car which is more consistent than us and more driveable.

"But that doesn't change the way we'll try and keep pushing to stay ahead. It's not what we want so late in the season, we've got to try and do something more to get back ahead of them."

When asked by Motorsport.com how worried he was about Ferrari's pace advantage, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said "being worried doesn't help", but he did admit McLaren has to accept that the advantage lies with Ferrari.

"It's a reality they've made a good step forward with their package, also down to the upgrade they introduced on the power unit side," he said.

"And that gave them a good advantage, especially in these last two races compared to us, so that's the reality we are in.

"But at the same time, it's simply important to focus on ourselves; we know that there's no upgrades coming anymore on the car side or power unit side.

"We know that there's tracks coming that will probably play a bit more to the strengths of our car, but there are also tracks at the end of the season where we will struggle compared to Ferrari.

"It's simply important we extract each weekend the maximum out of the package as it is, execute clean weekends, clean races, have a good strategy and then hopefully that's enough to battle them until the last lap in Abu Dhabi."

shares
comments

Related video

Austin bumps were 'on the limit' for F1, says Ocon
Previous article

Austin bumps were 'on the limit' for F1, says Ocon

Next article

Overtaking records in F1: most overtakes in a race, by a driver and more

Overtaking records in F1: most overtakes in a race, by a driver and more
Load comments
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021